Saturday, 11 July 2020

River Teme

Two quick sketches of the River Teme at Shelsley Beauchamp in Worcestershire.  In the first one I wanted to capture the pink flowers of himalayan balsam. I would have liked to have zoomed in on the flowers but didn’t have the will power to do so. The bank of the river was very steep here and I couldn’t easily access the plants at close range. The black and white picture is the view from the bridge over to the orchards and hills. I could have done it in colour but I only had a few minutes spare and decided to work in greyscale instead.

Thursday, 2 July 2020


Doodling on the iPad is wonderful when something emerges out of all the rubbish scribbly stuff I do that gets deleted time and time again. Started with a few flowing lines which then developed into hills and the rest followed.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Ice Cream Shop

Drawn whilst sitting in the garden this afternoon. Looks like a place I'd like to visit one day!

Garden Plants

A variety of plants in the garden.

Sunday, 14 June 2020


Two sketches. The first was just me playing around with an idea, and the second is a quick sketch made in the garden.

Saturday, 6 June 2020


It has taken a good week or so to decided how to illustrate a wonderful bloom of honeysuckle found whilst on a bike ride. This has worked, though it felt a rather complicated task and I had to simplify it as I wanted to move on.

Sunday, 31 May 2020


The garden is looking good this year, although it is very dry. As usual, the hops are the fastest growing plants and are already a good six feet high. Vegetables are slowly getting going. I always say the garden is a late garden, I put it down to the conifers in neighbouring gardens. A lorry load of woodchip from some tree cutting nearby has enabled me to resurface the paths and have little left over (or rather, a lot). I've decided to let some rough edges and weeds exist this year to increase the biodiversity. Just occasionally I see some interesting insects and want to see what I can attract by leaving nature to do what it does best.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Garden Sketch

Fountain pen sketch of the garden this evening.

Monday, 25 May 2020


This is a sketch of woodland near Knebworth today. A hot day with bright sunshine. The colours of the leaves were so vivid with the sunlight behind them. Several of my recent pictures have been experiments in using lighting effects to a greater extent. I have been inspired by many images on Instagram and I now trying to nudge my illustrations up a level.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Cow Parsley

This picture was meant to be a couple having afternoon tea in a garden. However, I got stuck planning the illustration and deciding how to draw the characters. After spending a week or so doodling ideas I then decided to draw this. (Affinity Designer on iPad)

Sunday, 10 May 2020


The first radishes picked from the garden. For once, I knew exactly where I wanted to go with this sketch and it worked well. Perhaps I will do more like this as I am not out and about as much at the moment along with everyone else. I am missing going out and sketching in cafes so enjoying a few challenges attempting different illustration styles.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Flower Lady

I wanted to do more of of an illustration as I hadn't used Affinity Designer for a while. I didn't really know where I was going with it and vector work seems much slower to do on the iPad, though there are advantages and it forces me to work in a different way. Not sure where the idea came from, I think it was a doodle I did one day.

Saturday, 2 May 2020


A very rare excursion for me into the world of portraits.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Working from home

Working from home. Gave myself 49 minutes to do this, the length of a particular CD I was listening to.

Sunday, 26 April 2020


 I am enjoying the results of doing some illustrations like this, though I don't really enjoy the process of doing them. This took a while to do, according to my iPad it took 14 hours and 28 minutes. I tend to get distracted easily so I hid myself in the summerhouse today to finish it off.  90% pleased with the result.

Shed Wall

What's on the wall: sketch for Beds Urban Sketchers challenge. Decided to draw what was on my shed wall.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Street View

I am doing a few sketches as part of a challenge set by Bedfordshire Urban Sketchers group, of which I am part. This was a very, very quick ink and watercolour sketch made on our driveway on the theme of 'Street View'. I will post some of the better drawings here, others are on instagram #matthewslaterart.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020


This was a pleasant challenge. I was inspired by stuff like this on Instagram and thought I would have a go. I am 95% pleased with it, not too happy with the figure but I had had enough of it after quite a few hours of stopping and starting and not being too sure how it would turn out. 

Garden Developments

As I have currently had a little more time on my hands due to having to work from home and take some holiday, I have been able to make a few small changes to the garden. Fortunately, I bought all my seeds and compost a day or so before the garden centres all closed.  I have restructured the pathway through the vegetable patch to form two paths and created a new pergola from pieces of woods I had been saving for a rainy day. Fortunately, the weather has been superb and after three or so days of hard work I am exhausted - what with taking up, pressure washing and relaying paving slabs; taking up turf, creating a path, redoing all the edging, reformating a flower bed, building the pergola, hand sieving my compost heap and loads of other fiddly jobs I am now ready to start sowing seeds. One of my neighbours resprayed nearly all his wooden fence panels and did our at the same time. Which was nice.

Monday, 30 March 2020


It might be a while until I see some hills like this again so I thought I would draw some. Thinking about all the people in Worcestershire around Ludlow/Tenbury Wells who suffered from flooding and now have to cope with the lockdown.

Thursday, 26 March 2020


Not quite sure why I drew this... I was scribbling one day and perhaps thinking about people isolating themselves. After the snowdrop picture this was a little more quirky.

Friday, 20 March 2020


Snowdrops, ivy and spotted deadnettle. I took a photograph of snowdrops in a churchyard a few weeks ago. This was used a base from which to work up this illustration. It has taken a while as I kept dipping in and out of it during lunch breaks, evenings and other odd moments. 

Friday, 13 March 2020

Wrest Park

The Pavilion at Wrest Park. A warm day, so very comfortable sketching outdoors. Bizarrely, my iPad run out of battery before I could finish it so had to add final few bits of undergrowth at home. Did a hard reset and it seems to be ok now.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Sketching in Bedford

Three sketches drawn in Bedford yesterday: La Piazza outdoor cafe and the Coffee with Art cafe. Drawn in-situ on the iPad. They were very quick and I was pleased with the results. I don’t find it easy to resolve detail on the small screen when working at speed as I try not to keep zooming in and out. Thus the line work is a bit scrappy but it does add more life to the drawing. One day I might get the larger iPad... 

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Ayletts, Mymmshall Wood, A1(M) and flowers

Four sketches:

The Dahlia Cafe at Ayletts Nurseries near St. Albans - added the figures in when I got home to liven it up a bit as I ran out of time on location; a bouquet of flowers in our living room (this didn't go quite as well as planned); the footbridge crossing the A1(M) near Water End/ South Mimms (drawn from a photo taken as a skip lorry passed by in the rain); and the Bridleway through Mymmshall Wood with beech trees (drawn in the rain - I could hardly see my iPad screen and had to keep wiping it clear).

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Still Life

When I pruned a rose bush in the garden a few weeks ago I kept the chunky stems and used them for a still life sketch. I initially set myself the challenge of spending only an hour doing this. However, sketching using vector shapes only proved slightly more tricky and, after a bit of tweeking and adding texture, I think this took a couple of hours. Used Affinity Designer on the iPad.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Wrest Park

A dry and windy day found me walking near Wrest Park today. It was good to be out on a mild winter's day and I was more than happy to sit down and draw outside. The wind was strong with almost no chill factor. I love being out in the wind except when it is cold or I am on the bicycle. Today it was just welcomingly fresh and a joy to be outside. I walked through a patch of woodland and decided to draw a clump of wild arum leaves. It was a fairly quick sketch so a little rough round the edges. In the cafe I then drew a couple sitting at a table with their dog. As usually happens to me, they left when I was halfway through so I had to rely in my memory to finish it off.

Wild flowers seen today: crocus, daffodil, snowdrop, celandine, dandelion, white violet, primrose (not quite in flower), catkins, dog's mercury.

Surprisingly, on my way back to Luton mid afternoon, I saw barn owl on a fence beside the A6. I could hardly believe my eyes - hadn't seen one for many years in the wild, yet here was one in broad daylight beside a busy main road.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Seaside Art

I am beginning a series of seaside themed pictures to get printed and sell. This is a part of one picture. Will reveal all later in year.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Matthew's News

I know I have not posted here for a while, I have been thinking about changing things round a little as I do from time to time.

Instagram is a more relevant place on which to post my artwork (#matthewslaterart) and feel part of a wider creative community. There are also probably better ways for me to organise this blog to fit in with what I would like to do this year. It doesn't really serve a purpose for me so it may go. Or it may not.

I have decided to concentrate on creating a series of seaside and boat themed illustrations with the aim of selling some digital prints. What I am thinking of doing is creating some quality unframed 10x8” prints which can be sold on Etsy. These can easily be sent out in an A4 envelope and frames can be bought off the shelf very easily. I am not sure I would trust print on demand services to produce bigger work and send them out for me. I will see what reaction I get to the small prints first. I also need to keep the process simple as I can get tied up with my day job from time to time.

Each month I am aiming to enter the 'Writing Magazine' competitions as an exercise. I will probably publish all my entries at the end of the year somehow. Three have been sent off so far and I am now on my fourth. They are usually quite short, around 1500 words, and I am given the theme each month. They are fun to do and an exciting challenge.

My novel is progressing slowly and positively. I have now planned much of the structure out and filled in a couple of remaining gaps in the last day or so. Now, it is just a matter of writing.

I recently visited a hop farmer in Worcestershire who had pulled out of hops a couple of years or so ago and I was able to have a look round and photograph the old hop kilns before they might get converted into homes or pulled down. The information gathered may go into my novel.